Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday November 26 2005
Attendance: 30 023
I was listening to the local radio in my car on the way home from the match - with the heating full on to warm my frozen carbuncles - and a Villa fan came on and summed the 90 minutes up perfectly.
'In no way spectacular, but we got the three points'. A great summary, what else needs to be said? 3 points, a team that has been struggling, a crowd that was nervous, rewarded with a home win. And with tough away games against Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers in the next few weeks, not to mention a home tie against Manchester United, those 3 points could prove invaluable.
At times it was a tense, scrappy, nervous type of game, but strangely, Villa always seemed fairly in control despite the fact both teams looked short on confidence, which judging by recent results, is hardly surprising.
Villa started quickly out of the blocks and piled on the pressure for the first ten minutes, but Charlton soon started to get some of the ball and despite our quick start we failed to exploit the early possession by creating any real clear cut chances. The first half seemed to slowly descend into an average game with neither team truly testing the opponents keeper. Villa edged the half but both teams went in at 0-0, I'd have thought Curbishley being the more relieved of the two bosses.
The second half took up a similar pattern. Villa at times zip the ball around nicely, but all too often they choose to hoof the ball forward, which makes no sense, especially when you have a striker of Phillip's stature against a defender like Hermann Hreidarsson who must be 6'2' and towered our man! We just don't seem to have the shape right in order to exploit the passing game and create chances for Baros or Phillips. This long ball will never work, not with the quality of players we have, we should be able to get behind defences far more than we do.
Baros hit the crossbar when he really should have been celebrating a goal in front of the Holte End after Charlton's keeper Stephan Andersen miss judged a cross. The keeper, who I know nothing about, really did look out of sorts as he flapped about more than a flock of birds that flap a lot whilst migrating to Flapsville! At that time you couldn't help feel the game was going to remain 0-0. BUT, up popped Steven Davis gathering the rebound and shooting a screamer into the top right hand corner of the goal. Job done. A superbly finished goal which will have added another million to the midfielders price tag should Sir Alex Ferguson come knocking! The relief at Villa Park was tangible. Roy Aitkin jumped six foot into the air, O'Leary looked like he nearly smiled (!) and the crowd went barmy. YES, the three points did mean that much. It also meant, come full time, that Villa had recorded their first back to back wins in twelve months and with Doncaster on Tuesday (Carling Cup), who knows, we might even go mad and make it three!
Long term, performances like this have to be improved upon if Villa expect to attract more than the lowly 30 023 crowd, but today, who cares? We got the points, we've climbed slightly away from the relegation threatened clubs and although there is still a long way to go to ensure survival - let alone an outside chance of fighting to catch the European chasing pack - we'll take the win and have a smile. It may only just paper over the obvious cracks, but sometimes you just have to take what you are given and be thankful.
Date:Saturday November 26 2005
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